Bpishue

State Treasurer’s Office has concerns over Governor’s transportation proposal

December 19, 2014 in Blog

This week, Governor Inslee announced he wants to raise taxes to spend more on education and transportation, and to give pay raises to state employees. On Tuesday, the Governor announced his $12 billion transportation spending plan, saying he wants to impose a $4.8 billion cap and trade scheme, take on $3.1 billion in new debt, and impose $2.9 billion in “other fees” on people.

Earlier this week we learned that Governor Inslee proposed his new tax plan without consulting the State Treasurer first.

Governor Inslee might let electric vehicle owners use ferries and toll roads for free

December 16, 2014 in Blog

As I was reading through Governor Inslee’s $12 billion transportation spending proposal, one line caught my attention:

 “Toll and ferry fare credit for [Electric Vehicles] EVs"

Governor Inslee seeks new taxes, announces $12 billion transportation spending plan

December 16, 2014 in Blog

Today, Governor Inslee announced his new $12 billion transportation spending plan. Under his plan, the state would spend close to $6 billion on the SR-520 Bridge, 507/167 Gateway, the North Spokane freeway and other highway projects. The Governor also wants to spend over $2 billion on subsidized mass transit and multimodal infrastructure.

King County Council drops threats to neighborhood bus service, votes to adopt Washington Policy Center’s money-saving recommendations

November 24, 2014 in Blog

Seattle leaders now have the money to drop regressive tax increases

Last week, the King County Council voted to preserve 95% of Metro bus service without raising taxes. The council’s action will likely comfort those who stood to lose most from tax increases and threatened bus cuts: the public, bus riders, and especially, low-income families and the disabled. Earlier this year King County officials threatened to cut 17% of bus service if voters did not raise regressive tax increases on the April ballot.

State officials tell drivers: “Go back to bed”

November 19, 2014 in Blog

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s daily Twitter notices provide people with up-to-date news and traffic alerts about their commute. WSDOT officials often suggest alternative routes around traffic accidents or inform travelers of upcoming bridge closures or repairs. But lately, WSDOT officials have allowed daily traffic congestion to get so bad they are starting to tell people to stay home, instead of using the highways we all pay for.

One reason Seattle-area traffic is horrible – state officials do not consider congestion relief a priority

October 28, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times reported on this morning’s horrendous traffic jams, noting politics and policy choices are getting in the way of providing people with congestion relief. Transportation reporter Mike Lindblom noted, “Congestion relief is no longer an official top priority of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)” as it was in the past. In 2007 lawmakers re-prioritized transportation spending to achieve five goals with transportation money. They added a sixth in 2010.

Washington state’s highway performance ranks 42nd best in United States

October 17, 2014 in Blog

A report released last month by the Reason Foundation ranks Washington as the state with the 42nd best highway performance out of the 50 U.S. states. Just three years ago, the state ranked 24th among other states. Washington received poor marks because “mileage in poor condition (on urban and rural Interstates and rural arterials) increased considerably, despite increased spending (relative to the U.S. average).”

Some findings from the study:

King County Municipal League says vote “No” on Seattle Proposition 1 regressive tax increases

October 15, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Municipal League of King County announced it is recommending a “No” vote on Seattle’s Proposition 1 ballot measure to increase car tab fees and sales taxes to send more money to King County Metro Transit.  In the announcement the Municipal League said, “voters do not have a clear understanding of what they are voting to approve,” and that passing Proposition 1 would be giving a “blank check” to transit agency managers. 

Seattle and Tacoma port alliance reflects WPC recommendation

October 8, 2014 in Blog

After years of debate on whether the ports of Seattle and Tacoma should merge, port officials announced today they have formed a single Seaport Alliance. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, “The Seaport Alliance will manage marine cargo terminal investments plus marketing, planning and operations, while existing government structures, taxing authority and ownership of assets remain in place.”

King County Council votes to preserve Metro bus service without raising regressive taxes

September 30, 2014 in Blog

After months of doubt, threats and controversy, bus riders and taxpayers finally have some good news: the King County Councilmembers unanimously voted to stop the bus service cuts they had planned for 2015. County officials now say they will limit their cut to a total of 151,000 hours of bus service, instead of the 600,000 bus hours they threatened earlier this year, citing windfall sales tax revenues and better management practices at Metro.

King County Metro update: Highest-paid unionized workers reject pay raise offer

September 12, 2014 in Blog

Members of Metro Transit’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 voted to turn down a fair contract that would have provided them with a 2% pay raise over three years, The Seattle Times reports today.

The contract offer would have provided a fair pay raise, while allowing King County leaders to preserve more bus service for the public without raising regressive taxes.  Still, 66% of union members rejected the offer, saying it was not generous enough. 

King County officials propose raise to “highest paid in the nation” Metro employees

September 9, 2014 in Blog

Executives at the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 announced recently they had secured proposed pay raises for their public employee members, who reportedly are already the highest paid in the nation.  Workers will vote September 10th on whether to accept the offered pay raises.   The plan would increases wages by 2% over three years.

 In announcing the proposed agreement one executive reported about maintenance workers:

King County Metro Transit sees windfall sales tax revenue, surge in money exceeds estimates

August 29, 2014 in Blog

The news keeps getting better at King County Metro Transit. Metro officials are the beneficiaries of record-breaking sales tax revenues, and are seeing large tax windfalls that were unthinkable just two years ago. Back then, Metro executives assumed their sales tax revenues would grow at a meager pace, and they planned to impose harsh bus cuts in many communities unless they raised taxes. However, a rebounding economy and swelling coffers should allow officials to keep bus service on the road without regressive tax increases.

Without reform, the ferry system will continue to frustrate passengers

August 21, 2014 in Blog

Many ferry passengers have known for some time that the ferry system in our state is broken. Some state leaders have continuously fought to reform the troubled agency to restore the public trust, only to be met with fierce resistance from powerful labor unions and well-compensated upper management.

Bad budget management and poor use of public money cause financial mess at Island Transit

July 30, 2014 in Blog

New information from Island Transit shows a series of poor financial decisions made by local managers are the source of the district’s trouble, not lack of state money. Island Transit provides bus service and vanpools throughout Whidbey and Camano Islands, with routes connecting Skagit and Snohomish Counties. The agency is fully subsidized by taxpayers and doesn’t collect fares from passengers. Earlier this year, Island Transit officials announced plans to cut the Camano Island to Everett bus route, citing a lack of state tax money as the primary reason.